Awareness Week: Advanced Peer Counseling holds Borderline commemoration

Francis: ‘We needed to find a way to honor those lost’

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One of the Awareness Week events, put on by Advanced Peer Counselors on the Great Lawn Dec. 4, was a commemoration for the victims of the Borderline shooting.

Sophomore and Advanced Peer Counselor Emily Francis said that the shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill Nov. 7 was overshadowed by the wildfires that spread throughout southern California the next day.

“Waking up and seeing Thousand Oaks on the news, seeing a place so close to us added to the list of mass shootings, was heartbreaking,” Francis said. “I believed we needed to find a way to honor those lost and place for students and teachers to come and share their thoughts and have a chance to process what happened.”

Senior and Advanced Peer Counselor Sravya Gadepalli said she helped organize the event because, although she also donated blood, she wanted to do more for those affected by the shooting.

“We wanted to give people a chance to get closure and a chance to recognize that what happened is terrible, but we need to come together,” Gadepalli said.

The commemoration gave students an opportunity to sign a paper banner and paper hearts — one heart for each of the 12 victims. Following the event, Advanced Peer Counselors delivered the banner and hearts to the Borderline memorial on Moorpark Road.

Freshman and Peer Counselor Rebecca Zait said she appreciated the opportunity to consider the magnitude of what happened and share her thoughts.

“I thought it was a really good idea for [the Advanced Peer Counselors] to have [the commemoration] so that people could really reflect on everything that’s happened and process things and be able to write their thoughts down,” Zait said. “I was able to talk to [the Advanced Peer Counselors] and tell them what I think about this whole situation [and] ask them what I should do if someone else needs help.”

Gadepalli commented on the event being one to remember.

“If it was a walk-out it might be more divisive and more people would be partisan, and really it’s not about that,” Gadepalli said. “It’s about these 12 people. They need to be remembered. They need to be commemorated by us.”

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